Do you work with a psychopath?

by HCA08 Nov 2012

‘Psychopath’, or its abbreviated form ‘psycho’, is a word which long-ago made its way into the flippant repertoire of the armchair observer cum psychiatrist – ‘Mary drank my milk – what a psycho’, or ‘Ted never paid me back for lunch – how psychotic’.

Yet psychopathy is a genuine mental condition, and according to a new book, there are a number of professions which attract more than their fair share. In The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success, author Kevin Dutton identified the 10 most likely, and least likely, jobs where psychos are likely to be found.

Top jobs for psychopaths:

1. CEO
2. Lawyer
3. Media (TV/radio)
4. Salesperson
5. Surgeon
6. Journalist
7. Police officer
8. Clergyperson
9. Chef
10. Civil servant

Least likely professions for psychopaths:

1. Care aide
2. Nurse
3. Therapist
4. Craftsperson
5. Beautician/Stylist
6. Charity worker
7. Teacher
8. Creative artist
9. Doctor
10. Accountant

The list of the professions in which psycho’s thrive reflects the ruthless character traits needed to stay in the business, and ability to perform under acute stress. The book said psychopaths are drawn to and thrive in roles where people need the ability to make “objective, clinical decisions divorced from feelings”, Business Insider reported.

On the list of professions least likely to attract psychopaths, behaviours such as empathy and human interaction are more noticeably needed.


  • by De Backman-Hoyle 8/11/2012 5:10:20 PM

    For someone that advocates against the stigma of those with mental illnesses I get very concerned when articles like these simplify a very complex illness, dont worry about being boxed in with your MBTI traits just have a job title that correlates to a Psychopath!

    Mental illness is not funny or flippant as depicted in this article

  • by Matt 9/11/2012 10:23:23 AM

    Psychopathy or Sociopathy as its often known are not deemed as mental illnesses. Even if they were they have no known cure or available treatment. They are high functioning, self aware people who lack any form of empathy. They need more than stigma, they should come with a warning label.

  • by Michael C 9/11/2012 8:25:29 PM

    I agree with Matt. This subject is a concern we have to increasingly address, particularly given that some psychopathic tendencies can often be desirable at some stages in an organisation (ruthless short term sales growth for one). I have often seen such people be inordinately successful for a time, then become a liability. Flippant reviews such as this on a serious subject, one that has the capacity to wreck an organisation and have severe impacts on innocent people working in it, don't really do the subject any justice.

    From one who has worked with managers leaning towards psychopathy!


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